Sunday 3rd April 2011
by Brian & Gill Armstrong
Seaborough trainer Richard Barber followed up his Saturday Larkhill treble by saddling the winners of six of the seven races at the Cotley meeting on Sunday. He sent 13 horses to the two meetings and won all of the nine races he contested. The feat recalled his six-winner tally at the 1994 South Dorset fixture at Milborne St Andrew and was just one behind his record seven-timer on the Mendip Farmers nine-race card at the old Castle of Comfort course in March 1998.
Barneys Mate (Novice Riders race), Mendip Express (2m 4f Maiden), Dualla Lord (Mixed Open), Bold Chief (Restricted), Glass'n A Half (first 3m Maiden) and Caught Off Guard (second 3m Maiden) provided Richard's six winners. The former led over the last four fences to take Harry Derham to the four winner mark for the season. Mendip Express prevailed after Pastara (George Hiscock) had fallen at the second last. "I think we'd have won by a furlong, though, if he hadn't been down on his nose at the fifth last", felt winning jockey Ryan Mahon. Bought as a three-year-old via the late Tom Costello, Mendip Express recalls his 1990s Dick Baimbridge-trained namesake, who won 38 point-to-points for Malmesbury owner Patsy Willis, all in the hands of six-time National Champion Rider Alison Dare.
Marianne Barber was considering the Christie's Foxhunter route for Dualla Lord after the grey cruised home in the Mixed Open. Dualla Lord is now unbeaten in his four outings this season "and he hasn't had to race in any of them", felt jockey Will Biddick.
Ryan Mahon took the reins on Bold Chief, who is jointly owned by Carol Eyre and meeting starter Bill Dupont. "I offered to stand down for this race, but the Stewards gave me permission to start it", he said.
Ryan rode his fifth weekend winner on Glass'n A Half, who already looked the winner when the disputing Lightening Jack (Alice Pearn) fell at the second last. Ryan looked booked for another winner with Arosio until the odds-on favourite fell three out, leaving stable companion Caught Off Guard to collect the prize. The win was a first UK success for 24-year-old Irishman Martin Cooney after two previous "firsts" in Irish point-to-points.
Kiama looked certain to win the opening Hunt race for Len and Rose Vickery when the mare blundered badly at the last and unseated Will Biddick. The "no remounting" rule prevented Will from getting back into the plate, leaving the Sue Popham-trained Wee Bertie and Micheal Nolan to jump the last and collect the prize for Yarcombe farmer David Meyrick and Ilminster cider works boss Godfrey Harris. "I can't celebrate too much as I'm off for a 2-day Trade Fair at Exeter", smiled Godfrey.